Rudolf Barshai, conductor - Top Drawer!

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Rudolf Barshai, conductor - Top Drawer!

Post by Lance » Wed Mar 24, 2010 11:34 pm

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Brilliant 10-CD set 9010

A while back, Brilliant Classics issued a 10-CD set [9010] taken from live recordings made in Russia between 1956 and 1974. Many of us know well Barshai's work as a violist, but perhaps even more, lately, as a conductor. Sets such as this historical one by Brilliant Classics gives an incredible insight into the man's work. Between this set and the two-disc Doremi set [7909/10] of Mozart's Piano Concertos 14, 15, 17, 22, and 27 with pianist Sviatoslav Richter and the Moscow Chamber Orchestra conducted by Rudolf Barshai, I have had a veritable "Festival of Barshai" that has shed considerable light on the artistic and musical prowess of this man. For now, there's just a couple of discs from the Brilliant boxed set that I draw your attention to with Barshai conducting the Moscow Chamber Orchestra:

Disc 3: FRANZ JOSEPH HAYDN
•Concerto for Trumpet in E-flat Major
Timofei Dokshitzer, trumpet
•Piano Concerto No. 4 in G Major
Arthur Moreira Lima, piano
•Symphony No. 100 in G Major {“Military”}

Having long admired the great Russian trumpeter, it is a joy to hear Dokshitzer perform the great Haydn concerto in this December 1961 recording. Aside from a tonal "wobble" that seems to be typical of Russian brass performers, this is a stirring performance of the work, especially the final movement where the trumpeter takes off in what sounds to these ears like a different performance or odd cadenza. Having heard several Russian conductors take on the music of Papa Haydn, this is the first time I have heard several works taken on by a conductor (Barshai) where the overall orchestral sound does "not" have that typical Russian "flavour." Barshai, obviously a scholar, who has heard Haydn's music, studied deeply the music, gives memorable performances in each case on this disc. The quality of playing in the piano concerto by orchestra/conductor/pianist was of the highest order, yet entirely distinctive without the stigma of Russian sound we so often hear, especially in the early recordings. The Military symphony, too, fell upon these ears stunningly.

Disc 2: VARIOUS
J.S. BACH: Die Kunst der Fuge (conclusion)
GLUCK, RAMEAU, LULLY, MARAIS, PURCELL:
Concertos, dances and fantasias

What is immediately apparent with conductor Rudolf Barshai, is his ability to move from early music right up to contemporary music and capture each period so perfectly with his Moscow Chamber Ensemble, a group of musicians of the highest caliber. On this disc, we have a charming one-minute piece by Gluck from Don Giovanni entitled Allegretto (Pizzicato), and here Barshai's stick technique charms the audience immediately. Also on this disc is music by so-called ancient composers such as Rameau, Lully, Marais, and concludes with Henry Purcell. You will be elated with what Barshai accomplishes with Rameau, and even more so with the rarely heard and charming music of Marin Marais in Troi pieces de viola entitled (1) La Provencale; (2) La Musette; (3) La Basque with Boris Dobrokhotov and Irina Morozova playing the violas da gamba. These recordings were made from the mid-1950s to the mid-1960s.

My admiration for Rudolf Barshai has just gone up several notches even though I am well aware of other exceptional recordings on EMI, RCA, Decca, Revelation, Laurel, Multisonic, Piano 21 and myriad other labels. Hearing Barshai in these live settings is ear- and mind-opening where one immediately recognizes something special. One catches to Barshai “fever” quickly.

The following s an important blurb about what is included in this set, and a more in-depth biographical sketch about Rudolf Barshai, who is still living today.

RUDOLF BARSHAI EDITION
Historical Russian Archives


CD 1
J.S. BACH: Die Kunst der Fuge (beginning)
[The Art of the Fugue]

CD 2
J.S. BACH: Die Kunst der Fuge (conclusion)
GLUCK, RAMEAU, LULLY, MARAIS, PURCELL:
Concertos, dances and fantasias
See above comments

CD 3
HAYDN: Trumpet Concerto in E-flat
Timofei Dokshitzer, trumpet
Keyboard Concerto No. 4 in G
Arthur Moreira Lima, piano
Symphony No. 100 “Military”
See above comments


CD 4
MOZART: Symphony No.29
Divertimento No.17 K334

CD 5
MOZART: Divertimento K138
BEETHOVEN: Piano Concerto No.2
John Lill, piano
Symphony No.8

CD 6
DEBUSSY, POULENC, HINDEMITH, MARTIN°U:
Serenades and divertimenti
BARTÓK: Divertimento · For Children
BRITTEN: Simple Symphony

CD 7
SHOSTAKOVICH: Symphony No.14
Galina Vishnevskaya, soprano · Mark Reshetin, bass
WEINBERG: Sinfonietta No.2

CD 8
SHOSTAKOVICH: Chamber Symphony Op.118a (arr. Barshai)
RÄÄTS: Concerto for Strings
BORIS TCHAIKOVSKY: Chamber Symphony

CD 9
PROKOFIEV: Visions fugitives
MEEROVICH: Serenade
KAREN KHACHATURIAN: Aria
LOKSHIN: Symphony No.7

CD 10
BUNIN: Symphony No.5
Concerto for chamber orchestra
STRAVINSKY: Concerto in D · Dumbarton Oaks
Moscow Chamber Orchestra
Rudolf Barshai, conductor

LIVE RECORDINGS made between 1956 and 1974

One of the most fascinating and elusive musicians of the Soviet age. This set provides a unique opportunity to experience the artistry of a man lauded by so many great composers and fellow artists

Much unusual repertoire including Weinberg, Rääts, Loshkin, Bunin is included along with a classic recording of Shostakovich’s Symphony No 14

‘The playing of the Moscow Chamber Orchestra has great intensity and feeling, indeed it could hardly be bettered.’ Gramophone review of Shostakovich 14, 1971

‘Barshai’s orchestration of 15 of Prokofiev’s 20 capricious short pieces…is really masterly. Such imaginative and ingenious scoring as this demands an orchestra of virtuoso soloists, and this he is fortunate enough to have.’ Gramophone 1963

The Russian conductor Rudolf Barshai was born in 1924 and studied at the Moscow and Leningrad Conservatories. He quickly became part of a group of outstanding young Soviet musicians and composers including Shostakovich, Richter, Oistrakh and Rostropovich. He frequently performed with them, and as he was a highly skilled arranger, had Shostakovich’s agreement to adapt several of his string quartets for string orchestra – the 10th quartet can be heard in this form in this extensive survey of his work as conductor and arranger.

Barshai established the Moscow Chamber orchestra in 1955 and it soon gained a world class reputation for its searching performances of Bach, Beethoven, Mozart, Haydn and Schubert. It would be impossible to include all of the prolific number of recordings Barshai has made, but this set captures the essence of the man – a highly skilled arranger, a champion of new music.

A perceptive interpreter of the classical and romantic repertoire (and who believed that a 45-strong chamber orchestra of today was indistinguishable from that of a full orchestra of the classical period), with an awareness of what would become known as ‘period’ interpretation.

Barshai was also meticulous to the point of obsession over rehearsals. This tried the patience of many Western orchestras, but always produced superb performances. Very much a ‘musician’s musician’, Barshai became friends with Tippett, Britten and Menuhin. Now in his eighties, he lives in Switzerland and works tirelessly to serve ‘the composer’s will’, still producing his wonderful transcriptions for string ensemble. ♪
Lance G. Hill
Editor-in-Chief
______________________________________________________

When she started to play, Mr. Steinway came down and personally
rubbed his name off the piano. [Speaking about pianist &*$#@+#]

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Re: Rudolf Barshai, conductor - Top Drawer!

Post by val » Thu Mar 25, 2010 3:37 am

Let's not forget Barshai's version of Shostakovitch's 15 Symphonies, with the WDR Sinfonieorchester (WDR) (1992/1998). With some exceptions - in special the 4th - it is a very beautiful version, detailed, not to dramatic or sentimental, with great moments in the 6th, 7th, 9th, 11th, 12th and 14th.

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Re: Rudolf Barshai, conductor - Top Drawer!

Post by Seán » Thu Mar 25, 2010 7:55 am

val wrote:Let's not forget Barshai's version of Shostakovitch's 15 Symphonies, with the WDR Sinfonieorchester (WDR) (1992/1998). With some exceptions - in special the 4th - it is a very beautiful version, detailed, not to dramatic or sentimental, with great moments in the 6th, 7th, 9th, 11th, 12th and 14th.
And also worthy of note are his lovely recordings of Mahler's 5 & 10 with the Junge Deutsche Philharmonie.
Seán

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Re: Rudolf Barshai, conductor - Top Drawer!

Post by Chalkperson » Thu Mar 25, 2010 10:06 am

I have this Set on it's way from France, $50 from Amazon...don't forget that he transcribed some of Shosty's String Quartet's for Chamber Orchestra, his DG readings with the Chamber Orchestra of Europe are way superior to his re-makes on Brilliant, otherwise I don't have any recordings by him that are not first class, his Mozart Concerto discs with Richter on DoReMI are excellent...his EMI Concerto Recordings with the Bournemouth Symphony are worth checking out too...
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Re: Rudolf Barshai, conductor - Top Drawer!

Post by stenka razin » Thu Mar 25, 2010 10:57 am

Sounds like a winner. Count me in, my fellow CMGers. 8)

Barshai's Shostakovich Brilliant Symphony box is superb and highly recommended. 8)


P.S. I was unlucky enough to get the first batch of the Shosty set, so I have a huge jewel case collection. The next edition was a paper or cardboard sleeve set and takes up much less shelf space than the jewel box edition. Either way, the Barshai renditions are winners. 8)


P.P.S. I paid about $30 at the late lamented Tower for the huge jewel case Barshai edition, so I guess I did not do too badly. :wink: 8)
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Re: Rudolf Barshai, conductor - Top Drawer!

Post by hangos » Thu Mar 25, 2010 3:26 pm

val wrote:Let's not forget Barshai's version of Shostakovitch's 15 Symphonies, with the WDR Sinfonieorchester (WDR) (1992/1998). With some exceptions - in special the 4th - it is a very beautiful version, detailed, not to dramatic or sentimental, with great moments in the 6th, 7th, 9th, 11th, 12th and 14th.
val,
I rate Barshai's Cologne recording of the 4th as the best I've ever heard - what don't you like about it?
Martin

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Re: Rudolf Barshai, conductor - Top Drawer!

Post by hangos » Thu Mar 25, 2010 3:28 pm

stenka razin wrote:Sounds like a winner. Count me in, my fellow CMGers. 8)

Barshai's Shostakovich Brilliant Symphony box is superb and highly recommended. 8)


P.S. I was unlucky enough to get the first batch of the Shosty set, so I have a huge jewel case collection. The next edition was a paper or cardboard sleeve set and takes up much less shelf space than the jewel box edition. Either way, the Barshai renditions are winners. 8)


P.P.S. I paid about $30 at the late lamented Tower for the huge jewel case Barshai edition, so I guess I did not do too badly. :wink: 8)
I was even luckier than you - I got mine from a drugstore for £2.99 - my best ever bargain - there must have been about 20 sets for sale, so I took the plunge and never regretted it!
Martin

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Re: Rudolf Barshai, conductor - Top Drawer!

Post by stenka razin » Thu Mar 25, 2010 3:31 pm

hangos wrote:
stenka razin wrote:Sounds like a winner. Count me in, my fellow CMGers. 8)

Barshai's Shostakovich Brilliant Symphony box is superb and highly recommended. 8)


P.S. I was unlucky enough to get the first batch of the Shosty set, so I have a huge jewel case collection. The next edition was a paper or cardboard sleeve set and takes up much less shelf space than the jewel box edition. Either way, the Barshai renditions are winners. 8)


P.P.S. I paid about $30 at the late lamented Tower for the huge jewel case Barshai edition, so I guess I did not do too badly. :wink: 8)
I was even luckier than you - I got mine from a drugstore for £2.99 - my best ever bargain - there must have been about 20 sets for sale, so I took the plunge and never regretted it!
Martin

Martin, OMG..........That was a steal.............wow!............. :shock: :wink: 8)
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Re: Rudolf Barshai, conductor - Top Drawer!

Post by Lance » Thu Mar 25, 2010 4:14 pm

Hey, Chalkie ... didn't the Gostelradiofund recordings (in the 10-CD Brilliant box) come first, having been recorded between 1956 and 1974? The DGG Chamber Orchestra of Europe recordings would have to have come later, I suspect. Or are you talking strictly Shostakovich symphonies?

Interestingly, it was never my intention to start collecting Rudolf Barshai's recordings as a CONDUCTOR. I was more interested initially in his work as a top-flight VIOLIST. But the Brilliant 10-CD set [9010] is so spectacular that I might carefully consider adding more of his commercially recorded discs. The guy is a musical genius, for sure!
Chalkperson wrote:I have this Set on it's way from France, $50 from Amazon...don't forget that he transcribed some of Shosty's String Quartet's for Chamber Orchestra, his DG readings with the Chamber Orchestra of Europe are way superior to his re-makes on Brilliant, otherwise I don't have any recordings by him that are not first class, his Mozart Concerto discs with Richter on DoReMI are excellent...his EMI Concerto Recordings with the Bournemouth Symphony are worth checking out too...
Lance G. Hill
Editor-in-Chief
______________________________________________________

When she started to play, Mr. Steinway came down and personally
rubbed his name off the piano. [Speaking about pianist &*$#@+#]

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Re: Rudolf Barshai, conductor - Top Drawer!

Post by Chalkperson » Thu Mar 25, 2010 4:24 pm

Lance wrote:[Hey, Chalkie ... didn't the Gostelradiofund recordings (in the 10-CD Brilliant box) come first, having been recorded between 1956 and 1974? The DGG Chamber Orchestra of Europe recordings would have to have come later, I suspect. Or are you talking strictly Shostakovich symphonies?
I am referring to the ones recorded with the Guiseppe Verdi Symphony that were in the Brilliant Shostakovich Mega Box (which I did not buy) and released later as a two CD pack...

http://www.amazon.com/Shostakovich-Bars ... 12&sr=1-36
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Re: Rudolf Barshai, conductor - Top Drawer!

Post by Seán » Thu Mar 25, 2010 4:39 pm

Chalkperson wrote:I am referring to the ones recorded with the Guiseppe Verdi Symphony that were in the Brilliant Shostakovich Mega Box (which I did not buy) and released later as a two CD pack...

http://www.amazon.com/Shostakovich-Bars ... 12&sr=1-36
I have the 2 CD set and I really like it.
Seán

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Re: Rudolf Barshai, conductor - Top Drawer!

Post by Chalkperson » Thu Mar 25, 2010 4:39 pm

Lance wrote:Interestingly, it was never my intention to start collecting Rudolf Barshai's recordings as a CONDUCTOR. I was more interested initially in his work as a top-flight VIOLIST. But the Brilliant 10-CD set [9010] is so spectacular that I might carefully consider adding more of his commercially recorded discs. The guy is a musical genius, for sure!
See if you can find any of his discs of music by Alexander Lokshin, who should be much better known than he is... :wink:

http://www.lokshin.org/en.htm
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Re: Rudolf Barshai, conductor - Top Drawer!

Post by Lance » Thu Mar 25, 2010 4:42 pm

Okay, that explains it! Grazie!
Chalkperson wrote:
Lance wrote:[Hey, Chalkie ... didn't the Gostelradiofund recordings (in the 10-CD Brilliant box) come first, having been recorded between 1956 and 1974? The DGG Chamber Orchestra of Europe recordings would have to have come later, I suspect. Or are you talking strictly Shostakovich symphonies?
I am referring to the ones recorded with the Guiseppe Verdi Symphony that were in the Brilliant Shostakovich Mega Box (which I did not buy) and released later as a two CD pack...

http://www.amazon.com/Shostakovich-Bars ... 12&sr=1-36
Lance G. Hill
Editor-in-Chief
______________________________________________________

When she started to play, Mr. Steinway came down and personally
rubbed his name off the piano. [Speaking about pianist &*$#@+#]

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Re: Rudolf Barshai, conductor - Top Drawer!

Post by Chalkperson » Thu Mar 25, 2010 4:48 pm

Seán wrote:
Chalkperson wrote:I am referring to the ones recorded with the Guiseppe Verdi Symphony that were in the Brilliant Shostakovich Mega Box (which I did not buy) and released later as a two CD pack...

http://www.amazon.com/Shostakovich-Bars ... 12&sr=1-36
I have the 2 CD set and I really like it.
They are wonderful pieces of Music, if you have not heard the DG discs then you will be fine with what you have...
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Re: Rudolf Barshai, conductor - Top Drawer!

Post by hangos » Thu Mar 25, 2010 5:06 pm

Chalkperson wrote:
Seán wrote:
Chalkperson wrote:I am referring to the ones recorded with the Guiseppe Verdi Symphony that were in the Brilliant Shostakovich Mega Box (which I did not buy) and released later as a two CD pack...

http://www.amazon.com/Shostakovich-Bars ... 12&sr=1-36
I have the 2 CD set and I really like it.
They are wonderful pieces of Music, if you have not heard the DG discs then you will be fine with what you have...
I can see the attraction of the chamber symphonies, but I much prefer the quartet versions for their spare and intimate sound (especially in the recordings by the Shostakovich Quartet on Regis)
Martin

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Re: Rudolf Barshai, conductor - Top Drawer!

Post by Seán » Thu Mar 25, 2010 5:10 pm

hangos wrote:
Chalkperson wrote:
Seán wrote:
Chalkperson wrote:I am referring to the ones recorded with the Guiseppe Verdi Symphony that were in the Brilliant Shostakovich Mega Box (which I did not buy) and released later as a two CD pack...

http://www.amazon.com/Shostakovich-Bars ... 12&sr=1-36
I have the 2 CD set and I really like it.
They are wonderful pieces of Music, if you have not heard the DG discs then you will be fine with what you have...
I can see the attraction of the chamber symphonies, but I much prefer the quartet versions for their spare and intimate sound (especially in the recordings by the Shostakovich Quartet on Regis)
Martin
Martin, I don't have them, I will have to do so.
Seán

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Re: Rudolf Barshai, conductor - Top Drawer!

Post by Chalkperson » Thu Mar 25, 2010 7:50 pm

hangos wrote:I can see the attraction of the chamber symphonies, but I much prefer the quartet versions for their spare and intimate sound (especially in the recordings by the Shostakovich Quartet on Regis)
Martin
That's a very good Set, as are those by the Borodin, Brodsky, Sorell, and Manderling Quartets, however I still prefer the Beethoven Quartet's readings, they premiered these works and their recordings are very special, and also expensive... :wink:

http://www.arkivmusic.com/classical/Dri ... ame_role=4
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Re: Rudolf Barshai, conductor - Top Drawer!

Post by Lance » Thu Mar 25, 2010 8:32 pm

Ah, it's only money! Just think of the pleasure derived from such performances! You can't put a price on that!
Chalkperson wrote:
hangos wrote:I can see the attraction of the chamber symphonies, but I much prefer the quartet versions for their spare and intimate sound (especially in the recordings by the Shostakovich Quartet on Regis)
Martin
That's a very good Set, as are those by the Borodin, Brodsky, Sorell, and Manderling Quartets, however I still prefer the Beethoven Quartet's readings, they premiered these works and their recordings are very special, and also expensive... :wink:

http://www.arkivmusic.com/classical/Dri ... ame_role=4
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rubbed his name off the piano. [Speaking about pianist &*$#@+#]

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Re: Rudolf Barshai, conductor - Top Drawer!

Post by Chalkperson » Thu Mar 25, 2010 9:50 pm

Lance wrote:Ah, it's only money! Just think of the pleasure derived from such performances! You can't put a price on that!
I would say it was a mandatory purchase, but, others may balk at it's cost, so i'm telling them in advance, now they all need to go buy it, along with Kondrashin's Set of the Symphonies, (which many here have already bought) and Nikolaeva's Preludes and Fugues... :wink:
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Re: Rudolf Barshai, conductor - Top Drawer!

Post by hangos » Fri Mar 26, 2010 5:04 pm

Seán wrote:
hangos wrote:
Chalkperson wrote:
Seán wrote:
Chalkperson wrote:I am referring to the ones recorded with the Guiseppe Verdi Symphony that were in the Brilliant Shostakovich Mega Box (which I did not buy) and released later as a two CD pack...

http://www.amazon.com/Shostakovich-Bars ... 12&sr=1-36
I have the 2 CD set and I really like it.
They are wonderful pieces of Music, if you have not heard the DG discs then you will be fine with what you have...
I can see the attraction of the chamber symphonies, but I much prefer the quartet versions for their spare and intimate sound (especially in the recordings by the Shostakovich Quartet on Regis)
Martin
Martin, I don't have them, I will have to do so.
Sean,
You can get the 5-CD Shostakovich Quartet set on Regis from ;
http://www.selections.com/C013/shostako ... ostakovich
at a ridiculously low price - they do charge postage extra, but all in, that will beat the £20 lowest marketplace price on amazon.co.uk!
This set really is special, very intense and "authentic" - the analytical recording and intense concentration, plus a superb first violinist all play their part!
Good luck
Martin

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Re: Rudolf Barshai, conductor - Top Drawer!

Post by val » Sat Mar 27, 2010 5:24 am

hangos
val,
I rate Barshai's Cologne recording of the 4th as the best I've ever heard - what don't you like about it?
I prefer a more dramatic approach in the first movement and more contrasts in the 3rd. More fantasy and imagination.
I still prefer Kondrashin or Rozhdestvensky.

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Re: Rudolf Barshai, conductor - Top Drawer!

Post by DavidRoss » Sat Mar 27, 2010 5:49 am

Seán wrote:And also worthy of note are his lovely recordings of Mahler's 5 & 10 with the Junge Deutsche Philharmonie.
Aye! Featuring Barshai's own completion of the 10th, better than Cooke's, methinks, demonstrating talent other than conducting.
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